Syracuse U. & NCAA Sanctions: Tales From The Break Room

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I could write incessantly about Syracuse University and its problems with an out-of-control athletic department and an academic system too afraid to complain about their excesses–but then we have syracuse.com and its blanket coverage for that. (I’m still holding out for a “Fab Melo–where is he now?” article!)

I just want to say that I was both heartened and horrified by the message sent by Syracuse U. Chancellor Kent Syverud in a talk to more than 100 faculty members on March 16th. I was heartened because the administration realizes the seriousness of the academic fraud perpetrated by the University in the case of the Fab Melo grade change incident. I was horrified to learn just how fearful the academic faculty is of the athletic department. Continue reading

The Tail Is Wagging The Dog Up On Piety Hill: Syracuse University Basketball & NCAA Sanctions

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One of my oldest friends and I regularly correspond about our Syracuse University basketball fanaticism. We both grew up during the emergence of the Cuse: starting as a small-time program with unheralded recruits and a middling record–to the national power-NCAA tourney-TV exposure juggernaut we root for today. Randy has moved out to Cali, but his allegiance has never dimmed.

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My Not-So-Secret Shame: I Have Lost Interest In Football

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Yeah, I’m not going to watch the Super Bowl this weekend. I have no rooting interest, the halftime show is pop drivel and I’m not a fan of the untrammeled capitalism that actually has made a separate sport out of watching (and rating) the commercials.

But let’s get down to brass tacks. It’s not just the Super Bowl. Football is a stain on American life. Football is popular because it works well on television, has the constant stops and starts that feeds our ADHD culture and it lends itself so easily to gambling. Football promotes a culture of violence, mindless conservative patriotism and corporate avarice. The league and its team owners revel in its success in breaking the players union–all the while it has refused to seriously address the horrible brain trauma and disability that the sport inflicts on the players–coincidence? I think not.

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Why Can’t We Be Friends?

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While attending a meeting of a coalition of groups that have been working together for about two years to improve the health and safety of the neighborhoods in the city of Syracuse, I was confronted with the quote you see above, the meeting facilitator had printed it out on a big sheet of newsprint hanging from the easel at the front of the room:

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Still Organizing In The Street

It’s been a year of change here at “Still Racing . . .”  After twenty years, I left my position as a community organizer with Syracuse United Neighbors.  I have taken a new job as an advocate for disability rights with ARISE–a center for independent living (CIL) here in Syracuse. There are 37 CIL’s in NY State and their mission is to help persons with disabilities live independent lives in the community–rather than being forced to live in institutional settings such as nursing homes.

The scale is different. SUN is a small grassroots group with two employees and an annual budget of $150,000.  ARISE is a sprawling social service provider with over 700 employees and a budget over $15 million. The atmosphere is more corporate–I have a cubicle, a name tag, I sign in and out of our building.  I am no longer salaried, I am an hourly worker. Continue reading

High Hopes–Met And Exceeded!

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Local columnist for the Post-Standard Sean Kirst (and a Bruce fan), once wrote a column about the best one-night rock show ever in Syracuse. He picked a 1957 rock and roll caravan, where up to 10 groups traveled together and each played 3-4 of their hits. These caravans were a big thing in the 50’s and 60’d–a musical revue with girl groups, soul, rockabilly and crooners all sharing the bill.

The May 13th performance of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band in Albany, NY reminded me of this style of show. The difference of course is that Bruce & the E Streeters were the only band–and the music may have been even more diverse.

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